FALLING FREETOWN: Sierra Leone mudslide survivors live in fear of fresh disaster

Kadiatu Koroma only narrowly escaped the mudslide that engulfed her home in Sierra Leone’s ramshackle capital last August, killing an estimated 1,000 people in one of the worst flooding-related disasters to hit Africa in living memory.

Koroma had already left for work when tons of mud and rocks crashed down onto her poor community in the shadow of Freetown’s Mount Sugar Loaf, killing her sister and her newborn baby.

Like many in the poor West African nation, she had no choice but to live in a place where experts had long warned that deforestation and rampant construction could bring disaster – and where many fear it could happen again as heavy rains become more severe due to climate change.

“Who would live in an area that is disaster prone if they knew and valued their life?” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in a camp for homeless victims of the disaster.

“We had no idea, we have no choice.”

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3 Responses

  1. THANK YOU for making this film. Sometimes our clients ask us to pave over their entire courtyard. We won’t ever do this, because it is the wrong way to manage rainfall runoff and creates problems for the entire neighborhood. Your video explains the core problem behind last year’s mudslide disaster: when unenforced housing regulations and haphazard development combine with climate change, trouble will find you. We are expanding to new countries this year, and we look carefully at how well housing policy is enforced, and how well housing sector investments are supported by the government, as we evaluate the next best market for our growing business. We hope to be a part of the solution to the housing deficit in West Africa – not another part of the problem.

  2. So sad to watch this video. Government officials do not realize the seriousness of the situation. They have not done their jobs by properly enforcing the law. So many poor souls lost their lives due to poor management. I hope they are working on mitigating this high risk to avoid landslides from happening again.

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